The Colorado & Wyoming Railroad

Organized in 1899, the Colorado & Wyoming Railway Company served as a subsidiary company of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. Its main function was to haul heavy loads of mineral wealth (and for a short time as a passenger line) from the mining districts to the Pueblo steelworks. It also serviced the mill yard by moving heavy loads of steel products from one area to another.  The C&W continues to service the mill today, running throughout the mill property hauling and delivering heavy loads.

Under CF&I leadership, the C&W served three divisions: the northern Division near Sunrise, Wyoming (where the company operated its large iron ore mine), the middle division at the Pueblo steel mill site, and the southern division, mainly servicing Las Animas and Huerfano Counties. The three divisions totaled 116 miles of track.

At Sunrise, the iron ore was hauled from the mine five miles away to Hartville, Wyoming, and later to Guernsey, Wyoming, where the rail line connected with other railroads, mainly the Colorado & Southern and Burlington Northern. Iron was then brought to the steelworks at Pueblo on these lines. The middle division, which was by far the largest, operated within CF&I’s Pueblo plant. This division handled raw materials, scrap, and other shipments coming into the plant and hauled finished products to the connecting railroads for shipment to customers. The southern division, built from 1900-1908 delivered mainly coal and coke to the steelworks.

4x5 Negative Box: AUD 0027 Prints Box: Pueblo Plant Sub 0001-0134 Numbered SUB 0079 Date: 08/31/1960 Three workers using new radio communications on C&W Railroad at Segundo Colorado.

Three workers use radio communications on the C&W railroad at the station at Segundo, Colorado, 1960

On all divisions, continuous radio communication was maintained with the crews. In addition to facilitating and expediting the handling of cars, this communication system would bring immediate action and/or assistance should an emergency arise.

During normal operations, the C&W crews handled approximately 4,800 inbound cars per month and a corresponding number of outbound cars. These cars, together with the 649 cars owned by the C&W, were switched to the various loading and unloading points within the plant area. A check of waybills revealed that more than 100 different items were handled at one time or another to some 170 different possible points of loading or unloading.

C&W workers and locomtive

Workers kept busy within the middle division of the C&W railroad at the steelworks in Pueblo, date unknown

In the late 1950s, the C&W normally employed 450 people, most of who worked on the middle division at Pueblo. Locomotives, cars, buildings, and tracks were kept in top condition by maintenance of equipment and maintenance of way crews on each division.  During the record month of June 1959, approximately 83,000 cars, both loaded and empty, were handled by busy crews working on the middle division. With the advent of diesel power, the C&W, like many other carriers, converted from steam to diesel locomotives, completing the transition in April 1952.

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